Almost 50 per cent of household waste (by weight) is organic material. The City’s Green Bin program helps keep waste out of landfill by collecting and processing organics into material that can be used to create nutrient-rich compost used to feed and nourish soil. The City collects organics from approximately 460,000 houses, as well as apartment and condo buildings, schools and City-owned buildings.
The City has installed Green Bins for organic waste in all Dog Off-Leash Areas in parks across the city. In parks that do not have a Green Bin, residents are encouraged to dispose of dog poop and other organic waste in garbage bins or take it home and place it in the Green Bin.
The City does not accept the following items marketed or labelled as compostable or biodegradable in its Green Bin organics program:
These items, which may be made of or lined with a bio-based plastic, must be disposed of in the garbage. Alternatively, products can be returned to retailers/manufacturers that offer take-back programs.
The City commissioned research related to disposal of single-serve coffee and tea pods. The findings include feedback from Toronto residents about use, attitudes and disposal behaviours.
What goes in the Green Bin is very important as the organic material is used to create high-quality compost that can be used to feed and nourish soil. The Green Bin program was designed primarily to handle food waste as well as some fibre/paper products (e.g. paper napkins). It was not designed to process packaging.
Instead of traditional composting, the City uses anaerobic digestion technology to process Green Bin waste. Before organic material goes into the anaerobic digesters, it goes through a pre-processing phase to remove any contamination. In this phase, anything that behaves like a plastic, regardless of what it is made of, is removed and sent to landfill. Bio-based plastics, such as compostable plastic bags and cutlery, behave like plastic and as such are removed during the pre-processing phase and sent to landfill.
There are many benefits to using anaerobic digestion to process organics. The City chose anaerobic digestion because it:
Learn more about what happens to organics once they are picked up at the curb.
To process Green Bin organic waste, the City uses anaerobic digestion, which generates a by-product called biogas. The City is working with Enbridge Gas Inc. to install equipment at the Dufferin Solid Waste Management Facility that will allow it to turn the biogas produced into renewable natural gas (RNG).